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Thread: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    This one has, I think, no great photographic merit other than being, hopefully, a reasonable documentary of what can only be described as one of nature's wonders.

    Every October, about 35,000 Barnacle Geese arrive for wintering on the coast of the Solway Firth in south west Scotland. They have just completed a 2,000 mile, 40/50 hour flight from the Svarlbard Islands, about which the visitnorway.com website says, "The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here you will find untouched arctic wilderness."

    On the day we were at the RSPB reserve at Mersehead about, I estimate, 5,000 decided to arrive. An amazing site.

    The Barnacles arriving on the Solway
    40D, Sigma 120-400 f4.5-5.6 APO DG OS @ 297mm. ISO 400. 1/2000@f5.6.

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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    Yes the winter migrations can be an amazing sight.

    I remember a news report of a couple of weeks back about some small town near the Canada/USA border that almost stood still to watch 100,000+ birds cross over on their way to the warmer south.

    Probably brought back memories of Hitchcock's Birds.

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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    That must have been a wonderful sight,Donald. About 25,000 fly there and overall 700,000 geese fly to the UK. Here at Slimbridge we get the Bewick Swans.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnC View Post
    Here at Slimbridge
    John - Does that mean you're part of the WWT?

    I was also at Caerlaverock. That was wonderful. Magnificently organised and managed (but don't tell the RSPB!).

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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    Yes,Donald.I'm a member and also worked there as a volunteer a few years ago.It's only 9 miles from my home so I can just go as soon as I see there's decent light and often spend all day there.I get Waterlife as a member and read about Caerlaverock

    I got this Bewick there in January last year, it's one of my favourites.

    The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    Good photos. We were at Mersehead about 10 days ago when the reserve estimate of Barnacle numbers was about 5000, but we saw lots more arrive during the day - a wonderful sight.

    It was interesting to see a few pink footed geese arrive. More than once the group of pink foots started to glide in towards a field of barnacles only to fly off, when they, seemingly realised the barnacles were the "wrong" goose.

    Dave

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    Quote Originally Posted by Tringa View Post
    Good photos. We were at Mersehead about 10 days ago
    This is getting more intriguing. Can you remember on what date you were there? It wasn't, by any chance, the 18th October?
    Last edited by Donald; 27th October 2011 at 03:26 PM.

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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    I was fairly sure of the date anyway but have just checked the photos. Yes, it was was the 18th between midday and around 2pm. I remember we waited in the car for a storm to pass and set off for the furthest hide at around noon, then called in on the closer hide on the way back.

    Seems like we are talking small world here.

    This was the only halfway decent shot I managed. I was trying out a old Sigma 70 -210 manual zoom, which was not enough for the range of the geese.

    Dave

    The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    Quote Originally Posted by Tringa View Post
    Yes, it was was the 18th between midday and around 2pm.
    Well, I'll be ...........d!

    The above was taken at 12:04. And from there we walked down to the beach (from the furthest away hide) where I took those various others, such as this, that I've posted.

    So, it was nice to have probably seen you ... even though we didn't know it.

    I think some of those in your shot are probably the same as those in my shot.

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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    This one has, I think, no great photographic merit other than being, hopefully, a reasonable documentary of what can only be described as one of nature's wonders.
    Donald, Humble as always! This is an excellent shot, I think. Even if the birds were not in the picture, I think it would be interesting with a little cropping from the top. Add the birds it adds an interesting dimension. this is something I can see framed on a wall. I enjoy looking at your B&W's

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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    The Barnacles arriving on the Solway
    40D, Sigma 120-400 f4.5-5.6 APO DG OS @ 297mm. ISO 400. 1/2000@f5.6.
    I like how the geese are layered rather than in one mass. How did you manage to instruct them to fly that way for the picture?

    I wonder however, if the fence line doesn't detract from the geese. When the image came up on my monitor, the fence line was cut off and the trees were at the bottom of the image. I seemed to like it better that way.

    Also, how do you like your Sigma 120-400mm lens? Do you like Sigma's version of image stabilization? I noticed that it is considerably less expansive than the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS ($USD 1,000 vs $USD 1,699) on Amazon.com.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 27th October 2011 at 06:52 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I wonder however, if the fence line doesn't detract from the geese. When the image came up on my monitor, the fence line was cut off and the trees were at the bottom of the image. I seemed to like it better that way.
    Interesting you say that. I shot it to include the fence in the final version. And then, when processing, I looked long and hard at cropping to exclude the fence. But went with my original idea. So, I'm very content to hear views saying the fence should have gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Also, how do you like your Sigma 100-400mm lens? Does it have (S)igmas version of image stabilization?
    Yes it does, Richard. I am liking it very much. This particular day out was its first real test. I had only dabbled with it up until then., The shots I've posted of the geese and of windfarms etc over the past few days were mostly taken with this lens on this day.

    This was all I had with me. The rest had been left in the car. I was handholding and by the end of our 4-mile (or so) walk around the bird reserve and along the beach, it was beginning to feel a little heavy. However, with its lens collar turned around 180 degrees you can carry it via that and it's quite nicely balanced if you lock the barrel down at its 120mm length.

    The OS (equiv IS) seems sound and the autofocus is fast. So far, so good!

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    Tringa's Avatar
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    Re: The Barnacles arriving on the Solway

    We must have been very close on the day, Donald.

    It was an amazing coincidence.

    I have known the Cambridge in Colour site for many months, from the tutorials, but only decided to join the forum today. It must be about 20 years since we have visited Dumfries & Galloway and we were only there a couple of weeks ago because we had accumulated some Tescos vouchers. I do not think we had appreciated that D & G is such a great area.

    Dave

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